Have you been reading the same old bathroom book? Strange History is the perfect, entertaining read with funny anecdotes and facts from history. A great read for kids too, even as young as middle grades, since the stories are short – sometimes just a paragraph. Much like a Guinness Book of World Records, Strange History is super entertaining. It would be a fun gift for a hubby, gag gift or friend.
We all know the legend of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show – but do we know what shaped and drove the man to be the charismatic, fearless entertainer that he was? Andrea Warren explores the sometimes sad, always challenging life that formed the man Billy Cody became. From the death of his older brother, to becoming the man of the house as early as 11. A fascinating read for an adult – and if you can get your teenager to read it too, even better.
I loved the premise of this book – that amazing athletes who children idolize are real people too. As a parent, especially as my son is succeeding and failing at different activities, it’s a great perspective for him to have: That professional athletes are people who have won and lost throughout life. For my fourth-grader who is a Denver Broncos fan, he loved reading about Peyton Manning dancing the tango in front of his middle school. Other athletes included were Jackie Robinson, Yao Mind, Lionel Messi, Gabby Douglas, Tiger Woods and Danica Patrick. This is a fabulous read for middle grade kids who have an interest in sports – and covers a variety of sports, backgrounds and diversity with short stories and illustrations that make this especially good for middle grade readers.
As daughter (disguised as a boy) to her desert wonderer-merchant father, Adira has had a hard-working but protected life in her father’s caravan. When two Northmen – one mysterious, one friendly and charming – join the caravan, Adira is swept into a new life based on survival, selfish-ambition and love. Angels at the Gate brings Biblical times to life, albeit fictionally, and puts a realistic play on the early story of Abraham and Lot in Genesis. I particularly enjoyed how T.K. Thorne portrays the challenges of a woman during the early Biblical times. It’s a fabulous plot driven story of adventure and culture with a touch of romance.
Note: It’s interesting to read this along with excerpts from Genesis. While Angels at the Gate is fiction, it has some factual inclusions and gives a dramatic portrayal of Biblical times – as noted in the back of the book.
“Brilliant” and “life-changing” boasts the cover, and I’m not sure I can do much better, except maybe to add life-affirming. The Book Thief is uniquely narrated by a powerless Death, who must pause in his work–mandated by far reach of World War II– to notice one little girl and tell her story. Overall, the takeaway is this: in an era when it’s difficult to keep up with books before they get made into a movie, this one is worth catching. It’s disheartening and uplifting all at the same time, and it stays with you long after the last page is turned.
This Angela Hunt portrayal of Esther is dramatic and real – through the eyes of two characters: Hadassah (the Jewish name that Esther is called throughout) and Harbonah, the kind’s personal slave. The two perspective are brilliant in telling the full story and life of Persian times. I loved that this book didn’t glorify Esther, but instead made her real, human as she grows from a Jewish orphan girl living with her cousins to Queen of Persia to a wise and bold influencer of her husband King Xerxes.
Note: It’s interesting to read this and then read the Book of Esther. While Esther Royal Beauty is fiction, it is mostly factually based and gives a dramatic portrayal of Biblical times. While I can’t vouch for every Biblical accuracy of the book, there are no major contradictions; I recommend reading this book as fiction that gives a potential perspective to Esther’s story.
Categorically it’s fiction, but it’s hard to think of Little Miss Sure Shot as a work of fiction; it’s more of a barely romanticized non-fiction. Confused? I was a little too at first … until I embraced it as more of a historical read. As a native of a Cody, Wyoming – a town founded by Annie Oakley’s long-time boss William F. Cody, I was interested to learn more of this well-known historical female figure even if there were some fictional assumptions. In fact, reading the book I realized how little I actually knew (I anticipate that most will feel the same). There’s more to Annie Oakley than we knew and Jeffrey Marshall details her story and life well.
Neil Flambe has his own world-famous restaurant, a slew of people following his demands, and an amazing noise that helps the police solve murders. With his amazing sense of smell, the teenager analyzes crime scenes, people and places to help the authorities get to the bottom of various mysteries. As a character Flambe is arrogant, cocky but with some reason … maybe someone a grade-schooler could identify with. In parts Flambe tends to go into a little too much detail on his culinary creations, which I’m not sure kids will identify much with. The books are well written and interesting mysteries – and Flambe a distinctive character that I could see becoming a Nickelodeon TV show. The Caper Series by Kevin Sylvester includes four great books: Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders, Neil Flambé and the Aztec Abduction, Neil Flambé and the Crusader’s Curse, and Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure. Great timing to get into the series before the fifth book comes out in January.
Here’s a fun video:
Learn how to draw the fiery superchef Neil Flambe with Kevin Sylvester. Neil Flambe is a 14-year-old wunderchef. He can cook anything, and he brags that he can cook it better than anyone else. He’s cocky, but he may also be right. Patrons pay top…
Available now: Dork Diaries Book 8: Tales from a Note-So-Happily Ever After
Image courtesy of Simon and Schuster.
There’s nothing like jumping into the mind of teenager Nikki Maxwell – and taking a ride through her dorky, accident-prone life. With a dose of entertaining teenage melodramatics, it’s the the girl-version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Girls Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
Did you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid but want a girl-version?
If you like diary-style reading plus cutesy emoticons and scribbles
Who doesn’t love, love, love an accident prone and totally dramatic teenager girl? Well it’s a perfect book for a grade-schooler to giggle out loud to and dive into … much like adults laugh at Dumb and Dumber. I can like totally see preteens enjoying this book … from the annoying little sister who causes accidents to a hunky guy, Nikki Maxwell may be a dork, but she’s totally likable and funny to read (as long as you’re like up with some pre-teen lingo). With age-appropriate content and silly plots and stories, I would definitely recommend Dork Diaries if you’re looking for a gift for a pre-teen, grade-school girl. And an impressive note: The Dork Diaries are written and illustrated by author Rachel Renee Russell.